It has been said that I love a bit of publicity, but even I know that having my picture splashed across the front page of The Times newspaper, while being accused of being a 'tax avoider' stretches the old adage 'there's no such thing as bad publicity' a little far.
To be called a tax dodger is the second worse thing you can be accused of publicly these days. And when it's completely false you start to wonder why a usually robust organ of the press would allow itself to be manipulated into lowering its standards to insinuate that I am doing something wrong, when the truth is I'm not?
And when I say I'm not breaking the law that's not code for I've found a loophole in the tax system, which allows me to duck paying my fair share. My company, Pimlico Plumbers, is not registered abroad in some tax haven, and I'm not operating any complicated tax minimising scheme. There is nothing nefarious going on, I'm not engaged in any way in trying to hoodwink Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs.
In truth what the paper calls a 'Times investigation' has uncovered the startling revelation that my company, Pimlico Plumbers, uses other self-employed plumbers and trades people (who work exclusively for me) to carry out work. And if that makes me a tax dodger then the entire UK construction industry is in the same boat. It is the way the building industry operates in the UK, and most of the engineers who join Pimlico Plumbers are already self-employed, so I don't change anything about their tax status, which they pay to HMRC in accordance with the law, as do I also.
So the question I've been wrestling with all weekend is - what's really behind person's unknown trying to slur my good image, or could it have just been a slow news day? Clearly with David Cameron battling in Europe trying to get the country a better deal and secure a platform for an 'In' vote in June's referendum there were plenty more important stories than - Shock, Plumber Employs Contractors!
The truth is that being an outspoken 'rough diamond' (according to The Sun last week) who is prepared to put his head above the parapet and urge people to vote to stay in the EU is something that someone or some group doesn't like, and slurring me as a tax dodger is supposed to shut me up. After all, who do I think I am, a bloke off a south London council estate daring to challenge those who believe they were born to rule?
No, truth is, whoever passed on details of a long-running and ongoing employment tribunal dispute, wanted me discredited and shut up, and also to send a warning to anyone else who was considering making any public statements on Europe to think long and hard before doing so.